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Should Mom Make Repairs to Her Home?

Your mother is living in her own home, and like any house, continual upkeep is a must .  Very few of us would be content without functional plumbing or rooms without heat.


The most important thing is to make sure the home is safe. 

  • If something is leaking the leak must be stopped.  Water does quite a bit of damage beyond the annoyance of wiping it up.  As soon as water appears where it should not, necessary repairs should be done.
  • Electrical issues are similar. The risk of fire is always present with electrical problems, so the necessary repairs need to be done.
  • Yards need to be maintained for safety reasons.  A well maintained yard means order within.  You do not want to give predators the impression that your parent is easy prey or alone in this world.  Order says otherwise, cut grass, trimmed bushes, planted flowers, are all signs of things under control.

Now let's get into updating the home. 

It is somewhat common for us as we age to get quite comfortable with things the way they are and make no changes to our interiors.  Over time the house can look rather run down and unappealing.

My recommendation on home updating is to think of it as a continuous process. Critically look at one room per year, and make changes to it.  It may mean re-carpeting one year, buying drapes one year another, painting a room, or replacing an old window.  For a home to be a nice place to live, it needs to be addressed annually.   Letting the home go because you may not live forever means you are letting your house fall into disrepair and become devalued.  If you are not taking good care of it, your home will be worth far less than you think when it comes time to sell.   Additionally, it will cease to be a pleasant place to live-out your remaining years.  My rule of thumb is if you are not able or willing to maintain your home, it is time to move.

When it comes to repairs and remodeling projects, there are many online tools to evaluate whether or not you will recoup the value of the remodel upon sale.  One also needs to take into consideration the pleasure value of living in a nice home.  Weigh the two and make the decision based on expense, quality, and projected timeline.  Note that an expensive home with poor quality repairs will not speak to buyers looking at such a home come sale time.

For those of you caring for a parent, it is very important to look at your own home.   While you are still working, plan for the annual expense of updating one area of your home each year, in your retirement budget.  Paying off the house and thinking you have no further housing expense means that you will be living in a fairly shabby home in 20 years.  Spare your children the challenges of helping you to maintain your home by planning for its care.

About this Post

Written By

Mary Haynor

RN / CEO - Emeritus

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